Can Mini Extend Its Brand Name Beyond Autos?

From Four Wheels to Two: Has Mini Gone Too Far? (Time)

Auto Company Mini Moves to Electric ScootersOne of the most difficult decisions facing marketers is figuring out how to grow their business beyond what originally made them successful.  For most marketers, there comes a time when the products that led to initial success have hit their peak and a decision has to be made on how to further grow the company.

As we observe in our Planning with the Product Life Cycle tutorial, many marketers, who see product sales stagnate (i.e., reach maturity), will often look to make changes to the product (e.g., new features, target new market, introduce lower-price models) in order to keep sales going.

But, sometimes the company can no longer expect its key products to grow, no matter what changes are made.  At this point, they often consider whether growth can be achieved by introducing entirely new products.  If so, they must decide whether to leverage the existing brand name for the new product or develop a new name.

This is what seems to be occurring with the Mini car brand owned by BMW.  As discussed in this story, Mini is launching what would appear to be an entirely new product in the form of an electric scooter.  However, even though they are perceived as a car company, Mini is applying its brand to the scooters.  Considering that for over 50 years the brand has been associated with automobiles, attaching the name to scooters has caught many by surprise, thus raising questions.

Critics charge that BMW, which acquired Mini, is pushing the brand too far; appreciators are singing the scooter’s praises for its eco-credentials. But all are asking: When is a Mini not a Mini?

Consumers have long associated the Mini brand name with automobiles.  What will the company need to do in order to change this?

Image by SOCIALisBETTER

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